The Atkins diet is not a new phenomenon. The diet first appeared in the late 1970s and has grown popularity in recent years in response to the low-fat diet craze.
As dieters had trouble with low-fat plans, they searched for a new solution and Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution book found a new audience.
A lot of people have jumped on the Atkins bandwagon and there has been a lot of hype as a result. But what are the basic principles of the Atkins diet?
Atkins Diet Basics: How Atkins Diet Works ?
The Atkins diet is based on a theory of why we get fat. According to Dr. Atkins, the over-consumption of carbohydrates and simple sugars leads to weight gain.
The way your body processes the carbohydrates you eat have more to do with your waistline than the amount of fat or calories that you consume. In his book, Atkins outlines a phenomenon called “insulin resistance.” He theorizes that many overweight people have cells that do not work correctly.
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Insulin Resistant as extra weight cause
When you eat excess carbohydrates and sugar, your body notices that sugar levels are elevated. Insulin is released from the pancreas in order to store sugar as glycogen in the liver and muscle cells for extra energy later on.
However, your body can only store so much glycogen at once.
As soon as your body reaches its limit for glycogen storage, the excess carbohydrates are stored as fat. This happens to everyone who eats too many carbohydrates.
However, insulin resistant individuals have an even harder time of using and storing excess carbohydrates. The more insulin that your body is exposed to, the more resistant it becomes.
Overtime, the pancreas releases more insulin and cells become insulin resistant. The cells are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects of high insulin. They create less glycogen and more fat.
As a result, insulin resistant individuals gain extra weight. The carbohydrates get converted into fat instead of energy.
Other side effects include fatigue, brain “fog” (the inability to focus, poor memory, loss of creativity), low blood sugar (which can leads to hypoglycemia), intestinal bloating, sleepiness, depression and increased blood sugar.
There is much more than weight at stake when you are insulin resistant.
Atkins fix to Insulin Resistant: Restricted Carbohydrates Diet
The remedy for people who are insulin resistant is a diet restricted in carbohydrates. The crux of the Atkins diet is a limitation of carbohydrates in all of its forms.
The foods restricted on the Atkins plan include simple sugars (like cookies, sodas and sweets) and complex carbohydrates (like bread, rice and grains).
Even carbohydrates that are considered healthy, such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread, are restricted on the program.
The diet has you restrict your carbohydrate intake to less than 40 grams a day. This will put your body in a state of ketosis. While in ketosis, your body will burn fat as fuel.
According to Dr. Atkins’ research, the ketosis state will also affect insulin production and it will prevent more fat from being formed. Your body will begin using your stored fat as an efficient form of fuel, and you’ll lose weight.
Understand ketosis is Atkins Diet
Another benefit of the Atkins plan is that ketosis will end your cravings for carbohydrates. If you’ve been living on a carb-heavy diet, you may have found that you simply cannot get enough carbohydrates. With carbohydrate restriction and ketosis comes a reduction in carbohydrate cravings.
The basic principle of the Atkins diet is that a state of ketosis will help you burn your fat stores as energy.
People who have been on the Atkins diet for some time report that they do not crave carbohydrates as they once did.
Although the initial phases of the Atkins diet are rather strict, the program teaches you to restore balance to your diet in the long run. People who use the diet slowly reintroduce minimal amounts of carbohydrate into their eating until they find a comfortable balance between their health and carbohydrate use.
Atkins and Appetite Suppression
One of the most common, and surprising, effects of following the Atkins diet is appetite suppression. Many followers of the plan report that the between meal hunger pangs they used to experience fade away very quickly. This makes it easier to stay on the diet and continue to lose weight.
While other diets have their followers starving between meals, the Atkins diet offers relief from constant hunger. The Atkins diet, with its specific combination of foods and ingredients, has powerful appetite suppressing effects.
Protein in the Atkins diet
The first key component is the amount of protein in the Atkins diet. Protein, more so than carbohydrates, has the power to satiate hunger. If you’ve ever eaten a carb heavy meal and then felt hungry afterward, you know that carbohydrates don’t have much staying power.
Protein, when combined with a small amount of healthy fats, can keep you feeling full for long periods of time.
Eggs as the most powerful appetite suppressing Foods
One of the most powerful appetite suppressing foods on the Atkins diet are eggs. Eggs are a great form of quick and easy protein.
A recent study showed that eating eggs for breakfast would actually stave off hunger pangs through the rest of the day. The research concerned two groups of women. One group ate eggs for breakfast and the other had a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese. The calorie count for both breakfasts was exactly the same.
The subjects kept track of what they ate the rest of the day and answered questions about their levels of hunger and satisfaction throughout the day.
The results showed that the women who ate the eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied throughout the entire day. They ate less at each meal than the women who were in the bagel group.
Eggs contain about 6 grams of protein each. This helps to even out blood sugar and produces a feeling of satisfaction.
Both of these factors help to curb cravings. Egg yolks also contain lutein and xenazanthin. These nutrients have been shown to have incredible effects on eye health.
So it’s important to eat the whole egg, and not just the white. Eggs contain choline that is important in brain functioning and memory. These nutrients are just an added benefit to the appetite suppressing qualities.
Broccoli and cauliflower: vegetables appetite-suppressing
Broccoli and cauliflower, two of the acceptable vegetables on the Atkins program, also have appetite-suppressing effects. These vegetables are very bulky and they help make your stomach feel full.
When your stomach feels full, it will actually create a chemical response in your body. Your body will reduce its appetite because it believes that your stomach is full of high calorie foods.
This will happen regardless of what is in your stomach. You can achieve the same results with water and psyllium husk fiber.
Both broccoli and cauliflower provide bulk in your diet and are essential vegetables on the Atkins plan.
The Atkins diet focuses on eating small protein balanced meals a few times per day. This will help keep your blood sugar stabilized and avoid carbohydrate cravings. With high carbohydrate diets, you are riding the wave of carbohydrate highs. After you eat, you feel great and full.
Then a few hours later, you come crashing down and are hungrier than you were previous to eating the carbohydrate. This cycle continues and, over time, you will eat more and gain weight. The protein, fat and vegetable meals of the Atkins plan put your blood sugar back in balance.
They provide just enough of each type of food, with a proper amount of carbohydrates (from the vegetables). The vegetables provide quick carbohydrate energy, and the protein gives the meal staying power. This combination helps suppress your appetite.
The Atkins diet is actually a craving control diet that can help suppress your appetite. If you’ve had a problem with carbohydrate cravings before, this new way of eating will help control those cravings. The more you eat on the plan, the better your cravings will be controlled and the easier it will be to follow the diet.
Atkins Diet Foods
Atkins diet foods are easy to find and available everywhere. There are many varieties to choose from, whether you pick prepackaged low-carb diet foods or make your own meals. No matter how you want to do the Atkins plan, there is a solution out there for you.
Atkins Food Pyramid: 3 Tiers
You’ll need to keep the Atkins food pyramid in mind when you make food choices. The Atkins pyramid looks much different than the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.
- The base of the pyramid consists of protein sources such as eggs, fish, beef, chicken and tofu. On a daily basis, your diet should consist primarily of these foods.
- The second tier has low glycemic vegetables like salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and spinach.
- The third tier is made up of berries and avocado.
Fruits should be used on an occasional basis after the initial stages of the Atkins diet. Vegetable and seed oils, cheese, dairy, nuts and legumes are used sparingly and in appropriate portions.
While the FDA pyramid has oils and fats at the top peak, the Atkins pyramid places whole grain foods in this spot. Whole grain foods should be used very occasionally and don’t make up the mainstay of the Atkins diet.
When you start the Atkins plan, you’ll need to make sure you understand which foods are acceptable for your stage of the program. The Induction phase is the most restrictive, but it only lasts two weeks.
You owe it to your dieting success to stay within the acceptable foods list. One of the best ways to do this is to follow the Atkins menu plans that are printed within the New Diet Revolution book. There are also Atkins cookbooks and cookbooks that are geared toward other low carb diets that are helpful in formulating meal plans.
Keep Track of Appropriate foods
It’s a helpful idea to use a cheat sheet of acceptable Atkins foods wherever you go. If you are out and about and hungry, the last thing you want to do is to try to think back in your memory to figure out what you can and cannot eat.
Carrying a list of acceptable foods with you will make finding a snack or meal while out on the run easy. You can’t always rely on “low carb” labels to tell you whether or not something is diet friendly. Ever since low carb became the new diet craze, manufacturers have been jumping on the bandwagon to attract Atkins dieters.
They label items low carb to sell products and don’t have your health in mind. Relying on foods from your own personal list is the best way to stay on the plan.
Another good resource for keeping track of the appropriate Atkins foods is an online diet program. There are several available. Some are free and some have a small monthly fee. The programs require you to register and then they provide you with personal weekly menu plans based on your needs and your carbohydrate gram level.
There are normally printable weekly shopping lists that make picking up your Atkins diet foods from the grocery store easy and quick.
Atkins diet food is easy to find once you know what you are looking for. The books, food pyramid and online resources can help you make better food choices and stay on the diet for the long term.
Some Interesting Books for Atkins Diet Foods List and Shopping List
The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet, usually recommended for weight loss. Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose weight eating as much protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid foods high in carbs.
What You Can Eat and What You Can’t There are four phases to the standard Atkins diet It focuses on proteins and fats like: Meat Poultry Seafood Eggs Butter Oils Cheese .
You’ll have to stay away from starchy and sugary carbs, including: Bread Pasta Potatoes Chips Cookies Candy You’ll eat carbs in veggie form at first. As you progress, you’ll add in other foods, like beans/legumes, fruits, and whole grains.
- Phase 1. This is when you help your body switch from burning carbs to fat. This process is called ketosis, and you should notice weight loss quickly. You’ll eat protein, fat, and only 20 grams of carbs in veggie form daily. Some people (like vegetarians) should skip this phase.
- Phase 2. You’ll add foods back to your diet, until you learn how many carbs you can eat while still losing weight.
- Phase 3. Go to this level when you have about 10 pounds left to lose. You’ll learn how to maintain weight loss and lose the last few pounds.
- Phase 4. You’ll follow this for the rest of your life, to ensure that you don’t gain back what you’ve lost.
This easy-to-use pocket guide, the ultimate shopping reference and an indispensable companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, will show you which foods to buy and which to avoid as you follow the Atkins Nutritional Approach™— a celebrity-favorite diet perfect for losing weight before your wedding or to bounce back into shape post-baby, or if you just want to look and feel your best.
What should I eat, and where can I find it?
Which products are the most Atkins-friendly?
Are there hidden dangers in seemingly “acceptable” foods?
Now Food Shopping the Atkins Way is Easier Than Ever!
Since its original publication, Dr. Atkins’ Quick & Easy New Diet Cookbook has sold more than one million copies. Based on the bestselling Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, the recipes in this completely revised edition will let you eat the most up-to-date Atkins way, whether you’re just beginning to slim down or want to maintain your goal weight and enhance your health and well-being.
The new edition will make it easier than ever to follow the controlled carbohydrate lifestyle pioneered by Dr. Atkins. Highlights include:
- 50 entirely new recipes
- recipes for breakfast
- updated favorites
- new nutritional data, including Net Carbs
Note: You must visit your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. Only him, can tell you if it is the best suit for your condition.